Joe Dunne admitted he was “desperately disappointed” after his Colchester United side were beaten 2-1 at Notts County tonight.

The U’s created the vast majority of the goalscoring opportunities at Meadow Lane but still ended up on the losing side.

Ronan Murray had given the Magpies a fifth-minute lead before Freddie Sears scored a deserved equaliser for the U’s with 20 minutes to go.

It looked like Colchester would claim a point from the game and that would have been the very least they deserved from a contest they dominated.

But Liam Noble’s fine long-range strike won the game for Notts County, who had both Cieron Keane and Nicky Wroe sent off late on, both for two bookable offences.

U's boss Dunne said: “We dominated the game and possession and it was our best passing display in my time as manager.

“With the way we kept the ball and moved it, I don’t think Notts County knew what to do.

“Their goalkeeper was man of the match but we have to take our chances.

“I thought we would go on and win the game after we equalised, because we were comfortable but they scored a wonderful goal.

“I stood in front of the team and told them to stay positive.

“I know a lot of fans who weren’t here tonight might think it’s the same old story but we have to stay positive.

“We have to keep believing – I’m desperately disappointed to have lost the game but if we keep playing like that, we’re going to win.

“We dismantled them at times.

“The fans who were here saw a top display from our side and to dominate as we did away from home is a bit embarrassing for the home team.

“They’ve won the game and taken the three points but I’d still rather be in our changing room tonight, based on how we played the game and how we wanted to play it.”

For three pages of coverage of the U’s game at Notts County, see Wednesday’s Daily Gazette.